By on August 4, 2020

Previewed way back at the 2018 Tokyo Auto Salon, Toyota’s (Gazoo Racing) GR Super Sport Concept now serves as the template for its next entry into 24 Hour of Le Mans, tapped for the new Hypercar Class that’s effectively replacing FIA’s World Endurance Championship LMP1. The new classification is supposed to reinvigorate the sport by mandating homologation of the wildest inductees, a practice which often leads to the most stunning performance machines ever to grace the road.

That means Toyota has to build at least 20 examples of something street legal that shares more than a handful of components with its LM racer. Rumor has it, something is already in development — and should exist well beyond the confines of what one normally thinks of when they envision Toyota products.

(Read More…)

By on May 11, 2020

Motorsport hasn’t been particularly engaging of late. Formula One seems to have lost the ability for a scrappy upstart to snatch victory away from a more-established team in even a single race and constant rule changing hasn’t helped anything. NASCAR, which intentionally tries to run much closer races, has similarly sabotaged itself by trying to obtain mass appeal. Both also suffer from a deficit of strong personalities piloting the vehicles and cars that are arguably much easier to drive than their forbears, making for fewer wild moments and less serious injuries.

All of this has sent your author back into the loving safety of the World Rally Championship and World Endurance Championship (along with MotoGP). However, the latter form of motorsport may be in danger of losing the oldest race in its playbook — the 24 Hours of Le Mans. While not yet marked for death, the event saw Porsche pull out last week. Subsequent reports indicate that Chevrolet is doing the same; as usual, the coronavirus is behind it all, and it does not bode well for the race’s long-term health. (Read More…)

By on February 20, 2020

Aston Martin is canceling is mid-engined Valkyrie racer and stalling EV development until 2025 as it reassess both the racing and industry landscapes. The Valkyrie was originally scheduled to commence its racing career in Silverstone this fall, before moving on to the main event — the 24 Hours of Le Mans — in 2021. Now, the company says it will halt development on the racer while it reorganizes under new investor Lawrence Stroll (Red Bull is out) and the Racing Point F1 team.

This appears to leave Toyota as the only big-boy factory team participating in the LM Hypercar division for its introductory season. Despite assurances that factory LMP1 teams had an interest in the class, they haven’t been clamoring to get involved. Peugeot and Glickenhaus are technically still in the running, though neither appear to have expended the same kind of cash as Toyota or Aston and are likewise presumed to pull out before the season starts.

This must be confusing for the FIA, as Hypercar was seen by the World Endurance Championship as an affordable alternative to P1 while also allowing manufacturers to adhere more closely to signature body styles that the prototypes would allow. It was assumed automakers would love this, as it allowed for more direct marketing ins and some overlap with the prototype cars.

(Read More…)

By on November 19, 2017

toyota lmp1 number 8

Endurance racing is often something you put on while you are doing another activity. As the events are far too long to devote the totality of your attention to, a typical strategy would be to enjoy the start of the race and check in whenever you hear the announcers panic. Sadly, that meant I missed the highlight of the WEC’s 6 Hours of Bahrain while running out to get food.

I’m not talking about the moment the Gulf Racing Porsche 911 LM GTE collided with the 919 LMP1 and practically handed Toyota the first-place finish. I’m referencing when a cat wandered out onto the track and was almost creamed by oncoming traffic. It was, without question, the most tense moment in racing I have ever witnessed. (Read More…)

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